An anathema against the Hasidim, signed by the Gaon of Vilna and other community officials. August 1781.
Illustration of Sabbatai Tzvi from 1906 (Joods Historisch Museum)
The Vilna Gaon
Former followers of Sabbatai do penance for their support of him.
Litvishe yeshiva students in Israel
Sabbatai Zevi "enthroned" as the Jewish Messiah, from Tikkun, Amsterdam, 1666

Much of Judaism was still fearful of the messianic movements of the Sabbateans and the Frankists, followers of the messianic claimants Sabbatai Zevi (1626–1676) and Jacob Frank (1726–1791), respectively.

- Misnagdim

Those who rejected the Hasidic movement dubbed themselves as misnagdim ("opponents").

- Sabbateans
An anathema against the Hasidim, signed by the Gaon of Vilna and other community officials. August 1781.

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Hasidic Judaism

Jewish religious group that arose as a spiritual revival movement in the territory of contemporary Western Ukraine during the 18th century, and spread rapidly throughout Eastern Europe.

Jewish religious group that arose as a spiritual revival movement in the territory of contemporary Western Ukraine during the 18th century, and spread rapidly throughout Eastern Europe.

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The Kaliver Rebbe, Holocaust survivor, inspiring his court on the festival of Sukkot
Kvitel requests for blessing piled on the graves of the last Lubavitcher Rebbes
Hasidic family in Borough Park, Brooklyn. The man is wearing a shtreimel, and either a bekishe or a rekel. The woman is wearing a wig, called a sheitel, as she is forbidden to show her hair in public.
Rabbi Moshe Leib Rabinovich, Munkacser Rebbe, wearing a kolpik
The Dorohoi Rebbe in his traditional rabbinical Sabbath garb
Sculpture of the Hasidic movement's celebration of spirituality on the Knesset Menorah
Israel ben Eliezer's autograph
Shivchei HaBesht (Praises of the Baal Shem Tov), the first compilation of Hasidic hagiographic storytelling, was printed from manuscripts in 1815
Palace of the Ruzhin dynasty, known for its "royal" mannerism, in Sadhora.
Belzer Rebbe Aharon Rokeach (depicted 1934), who was hidden from the Nazis and smuggled out of Europe.

Concurrently, the image of its Opponents as dreary intellectuals who lacked spiritual fervour and opposed mysticism is likewise unfounded.

Unlike in other, more radical sects influenced by kabbalistic ideas, like the Sabbateans, Worship through Corporeality was largely limited to the elite and carefully restrained.

Jewish Kabbalists portrayed in 1641; woodcut on paper. Saxon University Library, Dresden.

Kabbalah

Esoteric method, discipline, and school of thought in Jewish mysticism.

Esoteric method, discipline, and school of thought in Jewish mysticism.

Jewish Kabbalists portrayed in 1641; woodcut on paper. Saxon University Library, Dresden.
Kabbalistic prayer book from Italy, 1803. Jewish Museum of Switzerland, Basel.
Latin translation of Gikatilla's Shaarei Ora
The Ark of the Covenant in Solomon's Temple was the seat for God's presence. Ezekiel and Isaiah had prophetic visions of the angelic heavenly Chariot and Divine Throne
Grave of Rabbi Akiva in Tiberias. He features in Hekhalot mystical literature, and as one of the four who entered the Pardes
The grave of Shimon bar Yochai in Meron before 1899. A Talmudic Tanna, he is the mystical teacher in the central Kabbalistic work, the Zohar
The 13th-century eminence of Nachmanides, a classic rabbinic figure, gave Kabbalah mainstream acceptance through his Torah commentary
The leading scholars of Safed in 16th-century invigorated mainstream Judaism through new legal, liturgical, exegetical and Lurianic-mythological developments.
Synagogue Beit El Jerusalem. Oriental Judaism has its own chain of Kabbalah
The 16th-century Maharal of Prague articulated a mystical exegesis in philosophical language
Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, a leading Italian kabbalist, also wrote secular works, which the Haskalah see as the start of modern Hebrew literature
The Vilna Gaon, 18th-century leader of rabbinic opposition to Hasidism—a Kabbalist who opposed Hasidic doctrinal and practical innovations
Synagogue of the Baal Shem Tov, founder of Hasidism, in Medzhybizh (Ukraine). It gave a new phase to Jewish mysticism, seeking its popularisation through internal correspondence.
The Kabbalist (c. 1910–1920), portrait of an Hasidic man in Jewish religious clothing performed by the Austro-Hungarian Jewish painter Isidor Kaufmann (Jewish Museum, New York)
Metaphorical scheme of emanated spiritual worlds within the Ein Sof
Scheme of descending Sephirot in three columns, as a tree with roots above and branches below
In the 16–17th centuries Kabbalah was popularised through a new genre of ethical literature, related to Kabbalistic meditation
Amulet from the 15th century. Theosophical kabbalists, especially Luria, censored contemporary Practical Kabbalah, but allowed amulets by Sages
Joseph Karo's role as both legalist and mystic underscores Kabbalah's spiritualisation of normative Jewish observance
Building on Kabbalah's conception of the soul, Abraham Abulafia's meditations included the "inner illumination of" the human form
16th-century graves of Safed, Galilee. The messianic focus of its mystical renaissance culminated in Lurianic thought.
Title page of first printed edition of the Zohar, main sourcebook of Kabbalah, from Mantua, Italy in 1558
Golden age of Spanish Judaism on the Knesset Menorah, Maimonides holding Aristotle's work
Kabbalah mysticism on the Knesset Menorah, which shared some similarities of theory with Jewish Neoplatonists
Tikkun for reading through the night of Shavuot, a popular Jewish custom from the Safed Kabbalists
A version of Lekhah Dodi song to welcome the Shabbat, a cross denomination Jewish custom from Kabbalah

Many of his followers, known as Sabbatians, continued to worship him in secret, explaining his conversion not as an effort to save his life but to recover the sparks of the holy in each religion, and most leading rabbis were always on guard to root them out.

In a unique amalgam of Hasidic and Mitnaged approaches, Rebbe Nachman emphasised study of both Kabbalah and serious Torah scholarship to his disciples.